Washington, DC – Today, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced legislation to block a Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rule that would prohibit families from receiving federal housing aid if there is at least one member who is undocumented living in the household. This rule proposed by HUD last month would require families receiving federal housing aid, such as those that live in public housing or receive Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, to provide evidence of citizenship or eligible immigration status for each member in the household. If implemented, these new documentation requirements would put approximately 108,000 individuals, including an estimated 55,000 children, at risk of eviction, homelessness, or family separation. Gillibrand’s legislation would block this new rule from being implemented.
“This proposed HUD rule is another example of the Trump Administration’s clear and relentless attacks against immigrant families across this country. Undocumented immigrants are already ineligible from receiving federal housing assistance, however this new rule would punish their entire families and would deliberately put tens of thousands of individuals, including children, at risk of eviction, homelessness, or family separation,” said Senator Gillibrand. “HUD should be doing everything in its power to end homelessness, but this rule would do the opposite. It’s Congress’s responsibility to step in and protect vulnerable families, and I urge my colleagues to support my legislation and prevent this HUD proposal from being implemented.”
“The cruelty of Secretary Carson’s proposal is breathtaking, and the harm it would inflict on children, families and communities is severe,” said National Low Income Housing Coalition President and CEO Diane Yentel. “Tens of thousands of deeply poor kids, mostly US citizens, could be evicted and made homeless by this proposal, and – by HUD’s own admission – there would be no benefit to families on waiting lists. This proposal is another in a long line of attempts by the administration to instill fear in immigrants throughout the country. We will not stand for it.”
Current laws and regulations already prohibit federal housing programs from subsidizing immigrants who are undocumented or otherwise have ineligible immigration status, all while ensuring that families with mixed immigration status can stay together and receive aid that they qualify for. Currently, if a family includes individuals with varying immigration statuses, rental assistance is prorated to ensure that individuals who are not eligible for housing assistance do not receive a subsidy.
Earlier this month, Senator Gillibrand also led a letter to Secretary Carson with 18 Senate colleagues in opposition to HUD’s proposed rule. In their letter, the Senators wrote, “This misguided approach runs counter to HUD’s mission and breaks with the sensible policies the Department has had in place for over two decades under both Republican and Democratic administrations. Truncating current program benefits for residents in public and other assisted housing programs is misguided and will not solve the challenges our nation’s affordable housing programs face, as the Department and the Trump administration claim.”
The legislation Gillibrand introduced today is endorsed by the National Housing Law Project and the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Congresswoman Sylvia Garcia (TX-29) introduced companion legislation in the House.